Many Middle School and High School Teachers have fully embraced the celebration of Pi day on March 14th, the day that corresponds with the first three digits of pi (and is coincidently the birthday of Albert Einstein). But, the older kids aren’t the only ones who should have all the fun! Elementary students can also appreciate the joy of pi as well, even if they can’t quite calculate it on their own!
Here are a few ideas to celebrate Pi Day in your upper elementary classroom:
Read All About It
I love tying in literature into my math lessons! One book I love to read in honor of Pi Day is Sir Circumference and the Dragon of Pi (A Math Adventure) by Cindy Neuschwander. It is a fun story that makes clever use of several geometric terms throughout the book.
Go On a Circle Scavenger Hunt
Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and is always the same, no matter what size circle you use. Have your students hunt down circles in the classroom or around the school. Have students measure the circumference and diameter with a piece of yarn and a ruler. Depending on the age of your students, you could have them divide the circumferences of the circles they find by the diameter either by hand or using a calculator. What do they notice about their answers? Students should notice that they all equal about 3.14.
Let Them Eat Pi!
What student doesn’t like a lesson that has a food tie-in? Bake your students pi shaped cookies or pie. You can find both pi shaped cookie cutters and pie tins on-line. You could also just go the easy route and pick up a couple of pies at the store.
Incorporate graphing skills by asking students to choose their favorite pie, or fraction skills as you decide how many pieces to cut the pies into.
Let Them Wear Pi!
One thing fun about teaching Elementary School is dressing up to commemorate certain holidays or special occasions. Why should Pi Day be any different? You could become a math super hero by donning this shirt, or creating one of your own. You could even have students bring in white t-shirts to decorate in honor of Pi Day.
I also love these spiral Pi temporary tattoos that feature the infinite numbers of pi.
Let Them Race to Pi!
Try this fun pi-themed card game where players try to play all the cards in their hand while finding the numbers in pi.
How do you celebrate Pi Day in your upper elementary classroom?
Kelly Malloy is a 4th grade teacher in Northern Nevada. She has previously taught 3rd grade and 7th grade math as well. She is passionate about engaging students in with activities that are both educationally rigorous, but also fun at the same time.